Anyone who knows me, follows me on Twitter or glances at my blog will understand that this day is a bloody big thing for me, as it is for anyone who finishes their degree – and congratulations to you if you have. Today, with a three hour exam about the role of Italy and the natural place of women in the fiction of Henry James and Edith Wharton, I finished my undergraduate degree in BA English.
This blog is taking time to type, as I’ve cracked open the champagne since I got home.
For the last three years, it is safe to say I have ranted until my heart’s content, I’ve always been the first to say I hate university, my university, how it’s a waste of time. There have been tears, screams, good essays and bad essays. Friends who made that first, horrible year bearable – friends who are no longer friends as we don’t speak, but who I will always remember fondly. Friends who have stuck by through the whole duration, the girls that really pushed me and supported me to reach the end of my degree, and friends – Maddy – that I met in final year and have shared the most important year of my education with.
Today I walked out of my exam early. Because I always like to beat that ten minute mark when no one is allowed to leave the hall. Also because I’ve been pretty run down and not being able to blow your nose with ease for three hours leads to a very snotty nose. (Yum.) I didn’t feel anything though, until the exam was officially over and everyone started streaming out of the exam hall. When you get to watch and participate in other people’s happiness, it’s the greatest thing in the world. But, I have to admit, I started to well up. Despite all of my protests, I had a moment very similar to this:
I have learnt a lot in the past two years since I moved away from my parents. I’ve learnt, for the first time in my life, how much I appreciate and love my mom. Something that isn’t easy for me to come to terms with – the fact I have spent most of my life in opposition to a woman who truly does only have my best intentions at heart. If you’re the same person, you clash and that’s just the way things are. Growing close to one parent has made me feel distant from the other, so a big part of me looks forward to moving back home to be with my Dad, my favourite person on the planet.
Looking back on the last three years, they will be three of the greatest years of my life so far. I’ve had an academic experience, when finally, I wasn’t bullied. I wasn’t stood on the outside of a group of bitchy girls who only pretended to be your friends. In fact, university introduced me to these pair pictured below who are two of the most stunning people I have ever met. Hand on my heart, I will admit, I would not have got to the end of my degree if it wasn’t for Lucy and Amy.
I look back with fondness in memory of the nights when I got too drunk to get into Fab, I stole a spring roll from Adam’s Place and abandoned a guy called Sunny in the middle of Birmingham in favour of someone I fancied at the time.
But most of all, I come out of my degree at the University of Birmingham feeling extremely proud. No matter the result, I can honestly say that other than in my Shakespeare module, I have worked my arse off. I have, in fact, worked harder this academic year than I have during any other educational year of my life. I have become an accomplished reader and I’ve read things that I would absolutely never have picked up. University has been hard for me, as it is for other people. Not everyone has the best few years of life. But without realising it, I did. I really, really did. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Today is the end of an era. Today I feel a little sad, extremely relieved and absolutely elated. Monday will be the start of a new era. I haven’t blogged about it, but, I’ve left Pret A Manger. I worked my last shift on the Saturday just gone. On Monday, I enter the world as a full time editorial assistant for a marketing company. I’m extremely apprehensive about being the new girl, but as another saying goes, as one door closes, another door opens.
Watch out world. I’m on my way.
(Right after I’ve celebrated. Today’s celebrations have started with a bar of chocolate, a bottle of champagne and reading the final book in Cassandra Clare’s ‘City of’ series. I’m extremely glad to say that a degree in English Literature has not destroyed my love for reading. At all.)